Tuesday, November 11, 2014

At Stateside Bakery, Twinkies Go Gourmet

By Luke Tsai
Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge A new and improved Twinkie. - STATESIDE BAKERY
  • Stateside Bakery
  • A new and improved Twinkie.
Kate McEachern, the cupcake maestro behind the CupKates food truck, said the idea for her newest business venture came about after her brother had a baby and started waxing nostalgic about the desserts of his youth, such as Twinkies and Oreos. Wouldn’t it be great if he could introduce his kids to those sweets — if they weren’t made almost entirely out of garbage ingredients?

McEachern didn’t need to be asked twice. She and her husband, Casey McEachern, have opened a new brick-and-mortar bakery in Berkeley called Stateside Bakery (3001 Telegraph Ave., Ste. E) that’s wholly dedicated to new and improved versions of the snack cakes and other desserts typically associated with the American childhood experience. Located on the first floor of a new luxury apartment complex, in a tiny storefront formerly designated to become an ATM vestibule, the bakery quietly opened for business last week. The official grand opening will be on Wednesday, November 12.

click to enlarge STATESIDE BAKERY
  • Stateside Bakery
McEachern explained that as a pastry chef, her natural response to her brother’s question was to start experimenting with using natural ingredients to make versions of the desserts of her youth. Soon she came up with a Twinkie that was filled with Madagascar bourbon vanilla cream — the vanilla, extracted just down the street from her production kitchen, is about as fresh as it could possibly be. She made an “Oreo” that consisted of chocolate shortbread cookies (made with high-quality Valrhona cocoa) and a not-too-sweet vanilla cream filling. She’s developed a version of a Nutter Butter and a whole line of French macarons with distinctly American flavors: pumpkin pie, cake batter, and S’mores. On weekends, she serves homemade pop tarts.

None of the desserts at Stateside are meant to taste exactly — or even remotely — like the originals, McEachern stressed. (She said her early gas station runs to establish a baseline for comparison just wound up grossing her out.) Nothing is overly sweet. And most prices range from $2.50 (for a macaron) to $4.50 (for two Twinkies).

Oh, and fans of CupKates shouldn’t panic: McEachern said her two trucks will continue to operate, and she’ll usually offer one cupcake option at the bakery as well.

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